The donation amount declared by the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) is more than 12 times the aggregate declared by the national parties which include Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) for the same period. A total of Rs437.04 crore was declared by the BJP from 2,977 donations while the INC declared receiving Rs26.658 crore from 777 donations.
This is revealed by a report, prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which focuses on donations received by the national political parties, above Rs20,000, during the financial year 2017-18, as submitted by the parties to the Election Commission of India (ECI). Such a declaration is mandatory on an annual basis.
Key observations drawn from the report show that donations above Rs20,000 declared by national parties from all over India in FY17-18 aggregated to Rs469.89 crore from 4201 donations. Of this amount, a total of Rs437.04 crore was declared by BJP from 2,977 donations while INC declared receiving Rs26.658 crore from 777 donations. The donations declared by BJP is more than 12 times the amounts declared by INC, NCP, CPI, CPM and AITC put together for the same period.
As in the past 12 years, BSP once again declared that the party did not receive any donations above Rs20,000 during FY17-18.
A comparison of donations received by the national parties during FY16-17 and FY17-18 shows that the total donations of the national parties during FY17-18 decreased by Rs119.49 crore, amounting to a 20% drop, from the previous financial year, FY16-17.
Donations to BJP highest amounts decreased from Rs532.27 crore during FY16-17 to Rs437.04 crore during FY17-18 (18% decrease).
INC donations decreased from Rs41.90 crore during FY16-17 to Rs26.658 crore during FY17-18 (36% decrease).
ADR segregated state-wise donation amounts on the basis of reports submitted by the parties to the ECI. This analysis shows that a total of Rs208.56 crore was donated to the national parties from Delhi, followed by Rs71.93 crore from Maharashtra and Rs44.02 crore from Gujarat.
A total of Rs42.60 crore, which is 9.07% of total donations received by the national parties, FY17-18, could not be attributed to any state/ Union Territory due to incomplete information provided by the parties.
Corporate/business entities made 1,361 donations to the national parties amounting to Rs422.04 crore, which is 89.82% of total donations while 2,772 individual donors donated Rs47.12 crore, making up 10.03% of total donations to the parties during FY17-18.
BJP bagged 1,207 donations from corporate/business sectors amounting to Rs400.23 crore while 1759 individual donors donated Rs36.71 crore to the party during FY17-18. INC received a total of Rs19.298 crore via 53 donations from corporate/business sectors and Rs7.36 crore via 724 individual donors during FY17-18.
As one of the top two donors, Prudent Electoral Trust donated a total of Rs164.30 crore to BJP and INC together, of which Rs.154.30 crore went to BJP (35% of total funds received by the Party) and Rs10 crore was INC’s share (38% of total funds received by the Party).
NCP received Rs 50 lakh from BG Shirke Construction Technology Pvt Ltd and Rs50 lakh from Jankalyan Electoral Trust Mumbai.
Based on this data, ADR makes the following observations and recommendations: Observations:
1. Incomplete disclosure of information in the donations report: There is still ambiguity in details of donations declared by the national parties for FY17-18.
a) Of the seven national parties, four, namely BJP, INC, CPI and CPM did not declare PAN details of 219 donations through which the parties collected a total of Rs4.95 crore. BJP collected Rs4.01 crore from 119 donations but failed to provide PAN details of donors. CPI collected Rs 75.50 lakh from 70 donations without PAN. 26 donations to INC (Rs16.40 lakh) and four donations from CPM (Rs2.30 lakh) do not have PAN details.
Four national parties (BJP, INC, CPM and AITC) have declared Rs80 lakh worth of donations from 60 incomplete/Incorrect PAN details in FY17-18.
AITC has not provided cheque number, bank on which it was drawn and the date on which the cheque was received/ encashed for any of its 33 donors who contributed a total of Rs20.25 lakh. Thus, without the complete cheque/DD details, it would be a time-consuming process to link the donors against their donations and hence trace the money trail.
CPI has also not declared the details of cheque and DD for a total of 82 donations through which the party received Rs44.35 lakh.
CPI has not provided the names and PAN numbers of 50 donations of state secretaries and districts councils of the party though their contributions amount to Rs53.57 lakh while the party collected Rs75.50 lakh from 70 donations without PAN.
1. ADR supports the Supreme Court’s judgement on 13 September 2013 declaring that no part of a candidate’s affidavit should be left blank. Similarly, no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs20,000 should be blank.
2. Full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI. Some countries where this is done include Bhutan, Nepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan. In none of these countries is it possible for nearly 50% of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India.
3. The national and regional parties should, ideally, lead by example by filing complete and correct statements of donations to the ECI well in time for public scrutiny to encourage financial transparency.
4. The national and regional political parties must provide all information on their finances under the Right to Information Act. This will go a long way in strengthening political parties, elections and democracy.